Brake failure on ABS DL's - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 6 Old 03-21-2018, 04:34 AM Thread Starter
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Brake failure on ABS DL's

This is probably generic to most ABS bikes. And the critical post wasn't mine - I can't find the original or I'd have posted this as a followup.

Symptoms, brakes initially firm, then the lever heads for the bars. Give them a real quick poke and the ABS will even work.
Pump them enough times (with the bike parked) and they'll come up firm again. Let the lever out wait a few seconds and useless brakes once again. That's what distinguishes this from master cylinder problems.

So, once I'd rebuilt the master cylinder I decided I had to have a problem in the ABS unit . And with 120,000k's on the bike but the bike otherwise in great shape - well really ... that's just annoying.

After having it parked for a few weeks I decided to try a desperation move, we have quite a large backyard with about 70m of grass diagonally, (and it's raining gently - just what I need, wet grass PR4's and extreme braking ) get the bike down there without falling off, up to about 30kph, hit the front brake hard - try not to fall off. Turn the bike around - try not to fall off turning it around, repeat. After around a dozen passes the brakes came back. So, crap in the main ABS valve and eventually it came loose again.

Not guaranteeing it'll always work and it took a LOT of ABS action to achieve - more than a shop would normally bother with. On the other hand much less $$$ than a new ABS unit.

I've seen a few posts describing similar problems and I hope this is of some help to other ABS equipped bike owners. Note that the original post that made me think of trying this suggested a few other maintenance tips for ABS equipped bikes, which I'll be following in future.

And, really impressed with the ABS, I actually stopped far better than I would have dreamed was possible on wet grass on tires that have near no grip on this surface.
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Last edited by PeteW; 03-21-2018 at 04:36 AM. Reason: Added info
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post #2 of 6 Old 03-21-2018, 04:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteW View Post
This is probably generic to most ABS bikes. And the critical post wasn't mine - I can't find the original or I'd have posted this as a followup.

Symptoms, brakes initially firm, then the lever heads for the bars. Give them a real quick poke and the ABS will even work.
Pump them enough times (with the bike parked) and they'll come up firm again. Let the lever out wait a few seconds and useless brakes once again. That's what distinguishes this from master cylinder problems.

So, once I'd rebuilt the master cylinder I decided I had to have a problem in the ABS unit . And with 120,000k's on the bike but the bike otherwise in great shape - well really ... that's just annoying.

After having it parked for a few weeks I decided to try a desperation move, we have quite a large backyard with about 70m of grass diagonally, (and it's raining gently - just what I need, wet grass PR4's and extreme braking ) get the bike down there without falling off, up to about 30kph, hit the front brake hard - try not to fall off. Turn the bike around - try not to fall off turning it around, repeat. After around a dozen passes the brakes came back. So, crap in the main ABS valve and eventually it came loose again.

Not guaranteeing it'll always work and it took a LOT of ABS action to achieve - more than a shop would normally bother with. On the other hand much less $$$ than a new ABS unit.

I've seen a few posts describing similar problems and I hope this is of some help to other ABS equipped bike owners. Note that the original post that made me think of trying this suggested a few other maintenance tips for ABS equipped bikes, which I'll be following in future.

And, really impressed with the ABS, I actually stopped far better than I would have dreamed was possible on wet grass on tires that have near no grip on this surface.
Thanks. I bypassed the rear abs circuit because of the same issue. I tried locking the rear hoping it would come back to life but no luck so far.
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post #3 of 6 Old 03-22-2018, 03:26 AM Thread Starter
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It took a LOT of cycling of the ABS to get the valve working again. I was running with the front wheel locked up around 30 feet at a time and I was covered in sweat by the time I was done. Part of that was the effort needed to keep the bike upright, part was fear.

If I ran out of lawn or lost ALL my brakes, at one end a steep eight foot slope into a fence, the other a thirty foot drop into a pond

In hindsight, wet grass was ideal because although the grip was low it was consistently low and there weren't any unexpected lumps. I couldn't have managed this on a normal gravel road (too much grip, grip too erratic). Rear wheel might be a lot harder than the front as well and I possibly was lucky.
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post #4 of 6 Old 03-25-2018, 06:58 PM
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Interesting fix. Use it or lose it?
When a friend and I did the brake flush on our 800 BMW's he had a lap top and we could cycle the pump through software.
Wonder if the Suzuki has a ABS cycling software for a static condition rather than the dynamic of wet grass.
Nice your yard is large enough to make it work for you!
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post #5 of 6 Old 03-25-2018, 07:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteW View Post
It took a LOT of cycling of the ABS to get the valve working again. I was running with the front wheel locked up around 30 feet at a time and I was covered in sweat by the time I was done. Part of that was the effort needed to keep the bike upright, part was fear.

If I ran out of lawn or lost ALL my brakes, at one end a steep eight foot slope into a fence, the other a thirty foot drop into a pond

In hindsight, wet grass was ideal because although the grip was low it was consistently low and there weren't any unexpected lumps. I couldn't have managed this on a normal gravel road (too much grip, grip too erratic). Rear wheel might be a lot harder than the front as well and I possibly was lucky.
I will definitely try this if I can find the right spot...I am in Southern California and wet grass isn't really common

Another option I am considering is to open the ABS unit and apply 12 V to the seized valve to force it to cycle. For now, I am ok with my front-wheel-only ABS (I think that's the one that really matters).
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post #6 of 6 Old 03-26-2018, 03:22 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chikosneff View Post
I will definitely try this if I can find the right spot...I am in Southern California and wet grass isn't really common

Another option I am considering is to open the ABS unit and apply 12 V to the seized valve to force it to cycle. For now, I am ok with my front-wheel-only ABS (I think that's the one that really matters).

As for the wet grass, man up, join a golf club

And I suspect factory instructions to dealers are to do the cycle the ABS thing when they do the brake fluids. i.e. doubt it ever happens.

And the problem here is just cycling the ABS unit isn't enough, I was full on the front brake while I was doing this because otherwise it slowly sank into the bars - but in your case you'd need to cycle the ABS AND repeatedly to pull on the brake lever to get fluid to flow through the ABS lines.

Without serious flows there's no reason for that speck of crap to move.
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Last edited by PeteW; 03-26-2018 at 05:45 AM.
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